Turkey celebrates Ramadan Feast as month-long fasts end

Turkey celebrates Ramadan Feast as month-long fasts end

Turkey celebrates Ramadan Feast as month-long fasts end

AA Photo

Muslims in Turkey along with other Muslim populations around the world are preparing to celebrate the Ramadan Feast on July 17, as the day marks the beginning of a three-day holy period in Islam as well as the end of a 30-day fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

All three days of the Ramadan Feast, from July 17 to July 19 this year, are national holidays in Turkey, while the status of Ramadan Feast Eve, which falls on July 16 this year, as a holiday remains unclear.

All public and private employees are off duty during the feast although street sellers, shops and a number of businesses remain at work, as people tend to shop more to buy gifts for their family, friends and relatives. 

Most Muslims have fasted during Ramadan, eating only between sunset and sunrise, when there is no sunlight, which is considered a religious duty and essential in the Islamic faith.

During the holy month, also, municipalities across Turkey have held mass iftar dinners, a daily fast-breaking meal joined by those who break their fast after sunset.

Most recently, thousands of Muslims and Christians in Turkey gathered for an iftar dinner on July 15 in Gökçeada, an Aegean island district in the northwestern province of Çanakkale, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The iftar dinner organized by the Gökçeada District Municipality was attended by around 3,000 people, who enjoyed a concert and a performance by Soufi whirling dervishes.

Gökçeada District Mayor Muhittin Gürel said Gökçeada was a place where different cultures live together. “It is not a unity that can only be seen at tonight’s iftar, but in all times of societal life on the island,” he said.

As July 17 marks the first day of the feast, Turkish political leaders have also delivered their Ramadan wishes and warm messages, addressing the people of Turkey and the world. 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed his wish for a Ramadan Feast which would unify the people of Turkey as one. “We are celebrating the Ramadan Feast at a time [when] crucial developments are happening both in our region and the rest of the world. I wish the Ramadan Feast would unify the people of Turkey as one body,” he said, in a message delivered on July 16. 

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said people should be hand-in-hand in solidarity and peace during the Ramadan Feast. “Let’s salute each other, our neighbors, those we see outside, those we are angry with, those who think differently and have different point of views. Two people saluting each other make wishes of peace for each other,” said Davutoğlu in his Ramadan message, adding the people of Turkey should be unified for a bright future.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu wished the Muslim world a happy Ramadan Feast, saying Turkey represented a hope for the Muslim world with its secular, democratic and social state structure and its history of democracy. “Democracy is nothing but living together in peace instead of the polarization of society. It should not be forgotten that a politician should not divide and discriminate between one and another, but rather unify and reconcile,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ also delivered their Ramadan messages, saying, “Feasts are the times people forget hatred and enmity, but rather embrace each other with friendship.”

“The peaceful theme of the feasts should be in every walk of life and this has vital importance for living in harmony and equality. We wish the entire Muslim world a happy Ramadan Feast,” they said.